A sign of confusion on Russell Street

WATCHDOG

March 06, 2007

THE PROBLEM -- Motorists traveling south on Russell Street toward the Baltimore-Washington Parkway were greeted by a sign near Hamburg Street warning that cars in the right lane must exit at Interstate 95, even though there is no such restriction.

THE BACKSTORY -- Ron Wilner of Baltimore e-mailed Watchdog: "Those in the know have rightly ignored this sign for over a year, but the harm is that out of town motorists are forced to do lane shifting unnecessarily which confuses and slows traffic. Now, with the southbound construction completed, the sign that was stupid in the first place is still up."

The wrong sign further angered drivers who for nearly two years had to navigate orange cones, lane closures and blocked business entrances because of a construction project. Work on the 1,042-foot Russell Street bridge began in the spring of 2005 and has slowed traffic at one of the city's main gateways and exits.

An intrepid Watchdog reporter travels Russell Street and the parkway five days a week and agrees with Wilner's complaint. Drivers going south on Russell do not have to exit onto I-95.

The Baltimore Department of Transportation removed the sign yesterday. "The sign in question was used for a previous traffic pattern," said transportation spokeswoman Tia Waddy. The sign had been placed there by a contractor.

WHO CAN FIX THIS -- Margaret Martin, chief of transportation, engineering and construction for the city's Department of Transportation: 410-396-6930. City residents are also urged to call 311 with complaints.

Nicole Fuller

UPDATE

Back in November, Watchdog reported that the southbound platform for the Amtrak/MARC train station at BWI Marshall Airport was under construction and lacked an overhead shelter. People waiting for trains had to huddle in stairwells to escape snow and rain.

Amtrak said the situation would be fixed this year. A Watchdog spy noticed scaffolding up last week on the platform, a sure sign of progress.

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